Unleash Your Creativity with the Pentax 645Z - A Comprehensive Review

The Pentax 645Z is a powerful camera that offers exceptional image quality, fast autofocus, and superb handling. In this comprehensive review, we'll cover the key features, real-world performance, and why it's the go-to camera for professional photographers.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Pentax 645Z article cover photo

Key Features

Apr 15 2014


51 megapixels


Sensor TypeMedium format

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Overview of the 645Z

Professional photographers need a tool that can keep up with their creativity and demands. And when it comes to medium-format cameras, the Pentax 645Z stands out for its exceptional features. With a weather-resistant body, 51.4-megapixel sensor, and fast autofocus, it's no surprise that the Pentax 645Z has become a favorite among photographers. In this review, we'll explore its key features, test its real-world performance, and help you decide if it's the right choice for your photography needs.

Pentax 645Z Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Pentax 645Z camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Large sensor size
High resolution
Excellent image quality
Weather-resistant body
Durable construction
Wide range of compatible lenses
High dynamic range
User-friendly interface


Limited autofocus system
Heavy and bulky
Slow burst shooting speed
No built-in Wi-Fi
Expensive compared to other medium format cameras
Limited video capabilities
May require supplementary lighting for low-light situations

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Pentax 645Z

Weather sealed
Dimensions156 x 117 x 123mm

Weather Sealing

The Pentax 645Z camera is equipped with environmental seals that make it resistant to weather, preventing water and dust from entering the camera. If you enjoy outdoor photography and need a camera that can handle extreme conditions, the 645Z is an excellent choice.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (pentaprism)
Screen TypeTilting
Screen Resolution1,037k dots
Body typeLarge SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a tilting 3.20" screen, with a display resolution of 1,037k dots. This makes the Pentax 645Z not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


645Z includes a optical (pentaprism) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 98% and a magnification of 0.85x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Pentax 645Z has a 51MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 51 pixels. Pentax 645Z has a native ISO range of 100 - 204800 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Apr 15 2014


100 - 204800

ISO Range

SensorMedium format
Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution8256 x 6192 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


101 / 102

Color Depth

26 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

14.7 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

4505 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Pentax 645Z camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the 645Z is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: Medium format



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageDual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots
Battery Life650 shots
Battery ModelD-LI90
Wireless Connectivity


The Pentax 645Z supports Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots with 2 slots for storage. Having dual SD card slots on the Pentax 645Z is highly advantageous as it mitigates the risk of losing footage due to memory card malfunctions. This feature is particularly beneficial for wedding photography and other professional settings.


The Pentax 645Z uses the D-LI90 model of battery pack. This is rated for 650 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Pentax 645Z does not have a built-in flash, but it does offer a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Pentax 645Z boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Pentax 645Z includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 27 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Pentax 645Z?

The Pentax 645Z features a CMOS sensor

Is the Pentax 645Z weather sealed?

Yes the 645Z does have weather sealing.

When was the Pentax 645Z announced?

The Pentax 645Z was announced on Apr 15 2014

Does the Pentax 645Z have in-body image stabilization?

No the 645Z does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Pentax 645Z?

The 645Z has a native ISO range of 100-204800, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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